My beloved Orlando passed away five years ago and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him. He was a beautiful soul, full of character, and when I became ill at 17 he became my rock. We became so much closer after that, and he pretty much devoted himself to my care. Whenever he was in the house he would come to spend time with me, whether in my room or on my bed. We had a special bond that I will never forget and I like to honour that.
Although he appears in my Ancestor shrine I wanted to create something a little more personal. Where we are currently has wide windowsills, and since Orlando used to love gazing out of my bedroom window at the world below I thought it a fitting place for a shrine for him. I bought the ornament a long time ago because it looked like him, and so I decided to get it out again (it had been packed away) and place it with two of my photos. In January mum let me become custodian of Orlando’s ashes, so I placed them with the photos and ornament and now the shrine feels more complete. I am also thinking of making some memorial prayer beads, with a bead for each year of his life.
Creating a shrine for beloved pets is a really lovely way to honour them and their place in your life. I thoroughly recommend it.
(c) Michelle Gilberthorpe, Northern Tamarisk, 2018
Did you know that today is International Vulture Awareness Day? Many of these beautiful birds are now threatened or facing extinction, and population numbers are declining the world over. The Egyptian Vulture, which was known in Ancient Egypt, is on the endangered list. The Griffon Vulture, also known in Ancient Egypt, is the only one on the list that is of ‘least concern’.
The first Saturday of September every year is International Vulture Awareness Day (IVAD). Started in 2006 by the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Birds of Prey Programme and the Hawk Conservancy Trust, plus a range of partners and associates, IVAD has become a global event supported by the IUCN SSC Vulture Specialist Group; in 2016, 164 organisations from 47 countries participated. IVAD aims to create awareness about vultures as a whole, garner support among the public about the plight of vultures globally and highlight the work done by conservationists to protect these birds and their habitats.
Vultures are a characteristic, distinctive and spectacular component of the biodiversity of the environments they inhabit. They also provide critically important ecosystem services by cleaning up carcasses and other organic waste in the environment; they are nature’s garbage collectors and this translates into significant economic benefits. Studies have shown that in areas where there are no vultures, carcasses take up to three or four times longer to decompose. This has huge implications for the spread of diseases in both wild and domestic animals, as well as elevating pathogenic risks to humans.
You can find more information on the International Vulture Awareness Day website
They have kids activities and also colouring pages of different vultures on their downloads page, and you can also download this cute ‘Vultures of the World’ PDF
Two species of vulture were known in Ancient Egypt – the Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) and the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus). The Griffon vulture is the one most commonly depicted. On its own it represents the phonetic value of A, and was used to write the word mut, meaning ‘mother’. With the largest wingspan of any bird in Ancient Egypt the outspread wings of the vulture were seen as offering protection¹, and became a popular motif in Egytian art and jewellery. As vulture Goddesses Nekhbet and Mut became symbols of maternal love and protection. In the Late Period the vulture was: ‘…a symbol of the female principle and stood in juxtaposition to the beetle as the embodiment of the male principle.’²
The vulture headdress was seen as a ‘symbol and ideogram of motherhood’³ and also associated any Queen who wore it with Mut as consort of the state God, Amun, and also with Nekhbet as protectress of Upper Egypt¹.
Today is World Penguin Day! For more info see this page: https://www.awarenessdays.co.uk/awareness-days-calendar/world-penguin-day-2017/
Anyone who knows me knows I love penguins. These adorable, majestic birds feel like they make up a part of my very being, such is my abiding love for them.
Penguins first came into my life in the form of a cuddly toy from my late Uncle Tony. The imaginatively named Pengy was a gift for my first Christmas and one of my favourite cuddly friends growing up. He still watches over me to this day.
As I grew so did my obsession with all things Penguin. When my Danish cousin came to visit in 2006 she counted all of my penguin items and the total was nearing 100. I’ve been trying to heal my hoarding tendencies the last few years so most of the penguins have found new homes, but my favourites remain.
When I started exploring spirituality in the early 2000’s I came across the concept of animal guides, or totems. I found it fascinating but also incredibly frustrating. Where was Penguin? Eventually I found a book that included my soul brethren, and I finally understood why Penguin feels so much a part of me.
There are many theories about whether the Set-beast is based on a real animal, whether it is a compilation of creatures (like Ammit), or a completely mythological being.
While watching the ‘Grasslands’ episode of Sir David Attenborough’s ‘Planet Earth II’ I came face to face with an Ice Age relic: the Saiga Antelope. Just look at that nose! How can you not see a resemblance to the Egyptian God Set when you look at it?
By Vladimir Yu. Arkhipov, Arkhivov – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8955913
Today I’m going to write about something that has become very close to my heart. I’ve been a member of the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds)for over a year now, and every time I receive one of the magazines it breaks my heart to see how many beautiful creatures are on the brink of extinction or population collapse.
I originally joined for Sigyn, because she has a deep love of her ‘birdies’, and I thought it would be a suitable way to honour her, and Loki. In fact, if you honour any Deity with an avian form or connection joining a wildlife trust, or making regular donations, is not only a devotional offering, but also ensuring their legacy lives on. This is something lasting, not something temporary, and can make a huge difference if enough people gather behind a cause.
Just today I have also decided to ‘adopt’ a Puffin by making regular monthly donations. Besides Penguins (of which the Rockhopper Penguin is now on the global endangered list), Puffins are a favourite of mine, and I would be devastated if they went extinct.
I’m not necessarily asking you to donate to the RSPB, but I’d like to highlight some of their appeals in the hope that it makes others think more about the beautiful creatures we share our planet with. In the majority of cases it is because of human intervention that these appeals have to exist. Please click on the bold underlined links if you wish to learn more. Continue reading
September’s entry is introducing Silver Labyrinth. She is a UK artist who makes beautiful jewellery pieces out of silver and gemstones, as well as polymer clay.
Click on the photos to be taken to the item page.
Dung beetles are guided by taking note of where they are in relation to the stars. This is a great link to Khepera, the scarab beetle who rolls Ra’s Sun disc through the sky each day.
These are a very small selection of photos from the album by Merya on Flickr. They are from the ‘Animals and Pharaohs’ exhibition that was at the Caixa Forum in Barcelona, Spain until January this year. If you love Egypt, in particular the animals associated with various Deities, then you should take a look.
Source: Sharp of teeth: crocodiles in the ancient Sahara
Really interesting for those fascinated by Ancient Egytian history, and especially for those who love mythology because it links to Sobek.
You know you’re truly
obsessed devoted when you see a squirrel up a tree and it reminds you of Ratatosk climbing Yggdrasil, or you walk past some beautiful pink and lilac sweet-peas and think, “Ooh, Sigyn would love them!”
Yep, I’ve got it bad.